Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WE ARE . . . SO LUCKY

Indeed.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

THON sets new record!

After totals over ten million dollars in 2012 and $12.3 million last year, THON raised an unbelievable $13,343,517.33 for the Four Diamonds Fund that benefits families battling pediatric cancer.

CONGRATULATIONS!

But who gave 33 cents? 

I'm just kidding, but it reminds me of the joke about the father that finds a box full of money under his teenage daughter's bed.  There's a wad of bills--totaling over a hundred dollars--and a single quarter.  Since she didn't have a job, and suspecting she had stolen it, he confronted her.  She broke down in tears and finally admitted that she took the money from guys in exchange for sex.  The father hadn't anticipated this turn of events, and was even more upset.  Finally, looking back and forth between her and the money, he demanded, "Who gave you a quarter?!"

Still sobbing uncontrollably, she answered, "they all did, daddy!"

THANKS TO ALL WHO DONATED, and to all the students that devoted their time and energy to THON!

Here are videos of the football team and the award winning swimming team . . .

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Blue Barron

Penn State announced their new president, to succeed Rodney Erickson.

Welcome back, Eric Barron!

Here he comes to save the day!


From USA Today . . .
In Barron, Penn State is getting an administrator who values athletic success on campus. "I really want successful athletic programs because it's the front door. It's absolutely the front door to your university," he told USA TODAY last summer.

Barron also recently faced a college football scandal in Florida. Last November, a year-old sexual assault complaint by a Florida State student against Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston became public and was passed along by Tallahassee police to the Florida state attorney's office for a full investigation.

At the time, Barron issued a statement urging "a respect for the principle of due process." At a press conference Monday, he repeated that call. "It's incredibly important ... that we let the police do their jobs and the District Attorney do their jobs, and if it gets to that point, to have the courts do their job."

Whoa!  Wait just a minute!  Isn't the head football coach supposed to handle all that???  (I wish there was a sarcasm font!) Thank God we have a leader that understands that criminal activity is the responsibility of someone other than a football coach!  Amen!

When asked how the university should acknowledge the role of then-head football coach Joe Paterno in the scandal, Barron said, "Whatever we do, we have to make sure that we do it with a high sense of dignity and honor, and sometimes that takes time."

Barron, whose expertise is in climate, environmental change and oceanography, worked at Penn State for 20 years, including four as dean of its College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He left Penn State in 2006 to join the University of Texas-Austin. He has been president of Florida State since 2010. 
Trustees unanimously approved Barron's appointment, whose experience with Penn State also was welcomed by a group of alumni, students and community members who have been critical of the board in recent years.

And in other news, Penn State fans--especially the student section--were named in the Top 5 among Big Ten schools, followed by Ohio State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa.
There's simply no better student section in the country than the one at Beaver Stadium. Penn State students love their Nittany Lions, and they arrive on game days ready to cheer loud, sing songs and wear the right colors. The S-Zone forms a giant blue S on a white background that looks incredible on TV and in person. Students camp out for tickets in the old "Paternoville" (now "Nittanyville"), and the school sold more than 21,000 student season tickets last season. 

WE ARE . . . PENN STATE! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Star Gazing

With National Letter of Intent Day come and gone, and Penn State coming out with the 24th ranked class according to Rivals.com, let's step back for a moment to reflect on a few things.



First, it is amazing that Penn State managed to hold on to most of their recruits, and even add to that class--WE ARE  . . . BETTER, through the turmoil of a new coaching staff and the residual sanctions.  Kudos to Coach Franklin and his staff.

And while Nittany Nation rejoices in having a Top 25 recruiting class, at least according to one of multiple sites that rate such things, what exactly does it mean???

A few years ago, I looked at how recruiting classes matched up against actual rankings and came up with a figure I called a RANK INDEX or RECRUITING INDEX.  Basically, I take the Rivals recruiting rank for the past 4 years (2010-2013) for each team and compare that average recruiting rank to where the team ended up at the end of that four year period (this ranking by the USA Today.)  The Rank Index is the Average Recruiting Rank divided by the Rank the team actually managed on the field.  If a given team was ranked #1 in recruiting for four straight years and ended up ranked #1, their Index would be 1.  Numbers above one mean the team outperformed their recruiting rank, that is to say, the numerator would be a larger number such as the 75th recruiting class, compared to a #3 (denominator) ranking in the polls.  The Index would be 25 or 75 divided by 3.  Conversely, indices less than one indicate a high denominator (lower national rank in the polls) compared to a low numerator (higher or better recruiting rank.)

As an example, here are Penn State's numbers:

2010- Rivals recruiting ranked 12th
2011- Rivals ranked 35th
2012- Rivals ranked 51st.
2013- Rivals ranked 43rd.
Average Rivals ranking from 2010-2013 = 35.25

USA Today Rank for 2013-2014 season: 49th.

Rank Index = 0.719 which ranks 89th among all teams.

Here is the data in table form:

Rivals AVG RANK (2010-2013)USA Today RankRank Index
Michigan State35.50217.750
Florida State7.0017.000
UCF65.00115.909
Missouri35.2565.875
South Carolina19.2544.813
Northern Illinois92.00253.680
Baylor40.25133.096
Duke67.25223.057
Fresno State81.50282.911
Wisconsin60.50212.881
Louisville42.75152.850
Utah State102.25372.764
Clemson13.7552.750
Ball State110.75412.701
Stanford29.25122.438
Auburn7.2532.417
Bowling Green98.50422.345
Navy98.75432.297
Kansas State64.25292.216
Louisiana-Lafayette97.25442.210
Arizona State41.25192.171
Rice94.50481.969
East Carolina78.50401.963
Marshall63.00331.909
North Texas105.00551.909
Oklahoma State31.75171.868
Buffalo119.50651.838
Oklahoma11.7571.679
Oregon15.0091.667
Vanderbilt45.00271.667
Middle Tennessee99.75611.635
Arkansas State93.50591.585
Brigham Young59.00381.553
Louisiana-Monroe114.50741.547
UNLV102.25691.482
San Jose State106.00721.472
Western Kentucky87.00601.450
Boise State62.75451.394
Tulane93.75681.379
Arizona44.00321.375
Iowa42.00311.355
San Diego State77.75581.341
UCLA18.50141.321
Ohio100.75771.308
Colorado State82.00641.281
Troy101.00821.232
Central Michigan102.25871.175
Florida Atlantic104.25891.171
Akron108.75951.145
Minnesota59.25521.139
Cincinnati57.25511.123
Army118.251081.095
Houston57.25541.060
Toledo70.75671.056
Ohio State10.50101.050
Syracuse73.50701.050
Wyoming96.50921.049
Nevada95.00911.044
Georgia Tech56.50561.009
Massachusetts119.001200.992
Eastern Michigan113.251160.976
Texas A and M17.50180.972
UTEP105.001110.946
Kent State92.25980.941
Boston College59.25630.940
Washington22.50240.938
Washington State68.25730.935
Air Force103.501130.916
Louisiana Tech90.50990.914
Idaho109.251230.888
Texas Tech34.50390.885
New Mexico State101.501170.868
Miami (OH)105.501240.851
Western Michigan103.751220.850
Oregon State44.50530.840
UAB98.501180.835
SMU71.75860.834
New Mexico86.501040.832
Northwestern69.75840.830
Indiana64.50780.827
Connecticut82.251000.823
Tulsa81.751010.809
FIU95.501190.803
Wake Forest66.75850.785
Temple86.251100.784
Nebraska19.75260.760
Mississippi State34.50470.734
Penn State35.25490.719
Hawaii80.751140.708
Pittsburgh43.50620.702
Iowa State64.25960.669
Memphis71.251070.666
North Carolina32.75500.655
Colorado61.25970.631
Mississippi21.00350.600
Illinois56.00940.596
Miami (FL)20.25340.596
Southern Miss71.001210.587
LSU9.00160.563
Virginia Tech25.25460.549
South Florida56.001030.544
Rutgers41.25760.543
NC State55.251020.542
Maryland36.75710.518
Purdue59.251150.515
Notre Dame11.75230.511
Kansas52.501050.500
Utah35.25750.470
Kentucky51.001090.468
TCU34.75790.440
West Virginia36.75880.418
Georgia11.00300.367
Arkansas33.50930.360
Virginia36.751060.347
USC6.50200.325
Alabama2.0080.250
Michigan13.25570.232
Texas8.00360.222
California20.751120.185
Tennessee15.00830.181
Florida5.25810.065

Michigan State outperformed teams in this four year span, ending up ranked #2, while having recruiting classes that averaged 35th nationally.  Conversely, Florida consistently had good recruiting classes, but with a USA Today ranking of 81, they were the worst performing team in terms of talent.  Naturally, teams that do not "recruit well" will be higher on the list, such as Northern Illinois, Duke and Ball State because their success this season is beyond what would be expected from the recruiting classes.  Meanwhile, powerhouses like USC, THEM, and Alabama litter the bottom part of the list because their top ranked classes did not bring USA Today ranks that are equivalent.  Alabama averaged the second best class over the last four years to produce a team ranked 8th.  Note the number of SEC teams at the bottom of the list.  Also note that Vanderbilt was #31, getting a decent USA Today ranking out of modest recruiting classes.

A similar table can be constructed based on STAR ratings--this is the STAR index.  Rivals assigns star ratings to the recruits and then reports an "average" star rating.  For Penn State, that was 3.12.  For Alabama, that average star rating was 3.79.  So what I did was took the star rating ranks in order, such as this abbreviated list . . .

#1 USC (4.04)
#2 Alabama (3.79)
#3 Texas (3.73)
#4 Florida (3.69)
#5 Florida State (3.60)
#6 Auburn (3.58)
#6 LSU (3.58)
#6 Notre Dame (3.58)
#6 Ohio State (3.58)
#10 Georgia (3.49)
#28 Penn State (3.12)
#41 Vanderbilt (2.95)

So for the STAR INDEX, here is how teams fared the past four years compared to their USA Today Ranking on the field:

Rivals AVG STARS (2010-2013)USA Today RankStar Index
Michigan State3.07214.000
South Carolina3.2345.750
UCF2.74115.273
Florida State3.6015.000
Missouri3.1264.000
Northern Illinois2.23253.680
Duke2.55223.136
Clemson3.3653.000
Fresno State2.46282.571
Baylor3.00132.462
Ball State2.10412.610
Utah State2.22372.514
Navy2.09432.465
Arizona State2.90192.316
Bowling Green2.22422.143
Louisville3.00152.000
Louisiana-Lafayette2.22442.000
Marshall2.55331.939
Auburn3.5831.667
East Carolina2.43401.700
Kansas State2.78291.621
Wisconsin3.00211.381
North Texas2.23551.473
Buffalo2.07651.477
Brigham Young2.64381.500
Oklahoma State3.03171.412
Rice2.47481.271
Oklahoma3.4771.286
Stanford3.38121.000
Louisiana-Monroe2.10741.216
Western Kentucky2.29601.200
Arkansas State2.29591.153
Oregon3.4091.111
Boise State2.64451.133
Arizona2.90321.125
Middle Tennessee2.31611.049
San Jose State2.19721.042
UNLV2.23691.014
Vanderbilt2.95271.000
Tulane2.29680.926
Iowa2.94310.935
San Diego State2.46580.931
Colorado State2.38640.906
Ohio2.20770.870
Troy2.20820.817
Cincinnati2.73510.843
Toledo2.42670.836
Central Michigan2.18870.759
Florida Atlantic2.17890.753
Houston2.74540.759
Akron2.14950.695
UCLA3.39140.714
Minnesota2.78520.712
Ohio State3.58100.700
Syracuse2.51700.671
Texas A and M3.28180.667
Army1.891080.593
Wyoming2.22920.620
Washington3.15240.625
Nevada2.26910.582
Boston College2.72630.603
Kent State2.13980.592
Texas Tech2.95390.564
Washington State2.63730.548
Massachusetts1.761200.475
UTEP2.171110.486
Oregon State2.90530.528
Eastern Michigan2.131160.457
Air Force2.111130.469
Georgia Tech2.95560.393
SMU2.59860.442
Indiana2.71780.449
Louisiana Tech2.51990.384
Idaho2.211230.382
New Mexico2.321040.404
Miami (OH)2.181240.371
New Mexico State2.291170.359
UAB2.241180.373
Nebraska3.32260.385
Connecticut2.461000.370
Wake Forest2.77850.365
Western Michigan2.371220.311
Tulsa2.561010.347
Northwestern2.87840.333
Mississippi State3.03470.340
Temple2.241100.327
Miami (FL)3.25340.353
Pittsburgh2.94620.323
Mississippi3.26350.314
LSU3.58160.313
FIU2.431190.244
Iowa State2.67960.281
North Carolina3.01500.260
Hawaii2.291140.246
Penn State3.12490.224
Memphis2.431070.243
Colorado2.73970.247
Illinois2.73940.245
Virginia Tech3.19460.217
Notre Dame3.58230.217
Southern Miss2.641210.174
Rutgers2.95760.171
Maryland2.94710.183
South Florida2.891030.146
Georgia3.49300.167
Purdue2.781150.139
Kansas2.881050.133
Utah3.01750.120
NC State2.981020.098
West Virginia2.87880.136
Alabama3.7980.250
TCU3.05790.089
Kentucky2.921090.083
Arkansas3.01930.075
Virginia2.941060.066
Michigan3.41570.070
USC4.04200.050
Texas3.73360.028
California3.311120.027
Tennessee3.36830.024
Florida3.69810.012

Once again, MSU led the field with a strong USA Today rank (low denominator) and a higher denominator (poor recruiting class compared to other powerhouses like USC and Ohio State.)  Vanderbilt out-performed Penn State in both recruiting classes and star indices, with Penn State on sanctions 2 of those years in the period and Franklin coaching Vandy for three of those four years.

Of course, all the variables are based on subjective rankings and do not take into account coaching changes, injuries, or BCS calculations.  But it still gives us an interesting way to look at how recruiting class rank translates into wins and losses.